Item 1097 - Message from Mr Nelson Mandela to mark the 5th World No- Tobacco Day : African National Congress Office of the President

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ZA COM MR-S-1097


Message from Mr Nelson Mandela to mark the 5th World No- Tobacco Day : African National Congress Office of the President


  • May 1992 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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  • English

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Sunday May 31, is World No-Tobacco Day. It is a Day with a single aim- to build a world in which no one smokes, chews or sniffs tobacco.

It is a Day on which to remember that a human life is lost every eleven seconds to tobacco-related disease. The World Health Organisation's experts estimate that tobacco kills at least 3 million people each year worldwide.

It is a Day on which to stop smoking. For if we do not then the annual global death rate is forecast to increase to ten million in the next few decades. Most of these deaths will be in Africa and Asia.

It is a day on which to recall that tobacco ranks alongside AIDS, famine and pestilence as a threat to the health of the world's people.

For these reasons I gladly accepted the National Council Against Smoking's invitation to help them celebrate World No-Tobacco Day.

I am pleased to add my voice to the cause of health through non-smoking. Smoking is a problem both for the individual and for society.

Smokers can no longer ignore the frightening facts about tobacco. But many are caught in a trap. They worry about their health, yet they also worry about how to live without cigarettes! They think they "should" stop, but feel they "can't". So it is easier to continue smoking than to try to stop.

Stopping smoking is difficult. It requires energy, time and effort. Yet millions have quit and so regained control of their lives and their health.

On May 31, I appeal to smokers to quit for one day, as a first step to conquering their habit. They say the hardest part about stopping smoking, is making the decision to do it. Make that decision for one day on May 31.

I also appeal to the rest of our society to take up the challenge of building a healthier world through non-smoking:
- Women- because of cultural traditions few of you smoke. Remain non-smokers. Prize your growing independence and do not chain yourself to cigarettes.
- Children - do not start, smoking is a dirty habit, not a fashionable or grown-up one. The best sportsmen and sportswomen do not smoke
- Advertising agencies: devote your communication skills to sell health, not ill health.
- Agriculturists - use your green fingers to finding economic alternatives to tobacco growing.
- Athletes, and public figures - you are role models for young people. Set an example of non-tobacco use and publicise the fact.
- Health workers - you have the duty to inform yourselves and others of the risks. Help people quit the habit, and do so yourself if you smoke.
- Journalists and the media - spread the news so that no one can claim not to know of the dangers. Find new and exciting ways to educate people.
- Politicians - my own calling. Let us as soon as we are able pass legislation aimed at ensuring the right of people to live free from tobacco hazards
- Teachers encourage self-confidence in the child and help young people formulate values which lead to healthy decisions. Are you setting the right example?
- Tobacco farmers - start to reduce your dependence on tobacco crops.
- Unions- work will be safer and healthier in an environment free from tobacco. Protect workers from air polluted with tobacco smoke.

Health is a basic human right. Let us all work, to help everyone, everywhere, attain health, Let us build a tobacco- free world.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 12/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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